General Plastics Mfg. Co.

4910 Burlington Way
Tacoma, WA 98409 US

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LAST-A-FOAM® FR-7100 Multi-Use Foam Series: The economical, easy-shaping multitasker

General Plastics’ LAST-A-FOAM® FR-7100 multi-use polyurethane foam boards ably fill the bill for low-cost, easily finished, uniform stock material that won’t warp, twist or bow, whether under process or over time. Widely available in densities ranging from four to 40 pounds, this versatile workhorse supports a broad spectrum of uses. These include low-cost composite core applications; tooling and molds; architectural and styling models; CNC-machined topographical maps, prototypes and tool proofing; and industrial patterns, among other uses.

Smooth, Clean-Cut Qualities

FR-7100 is highly cost-effective to fashion and finish. This foam machines cleanly when using standard high-speed steel cutting tools and water jets, producing crisp lines. However, the foam is equally easy to cut by hand using simple woodcarving tools. Its fine cell structure and grain-free surface enable very smooth finishes. To achieve a smoother surface finish, higher density foam could be considered.

Other inherent differences in the FR-7100 series’ formulations and physical properties make it ideal for specific industries. The most common applications are models and prototypes, marine, composite core, and tooling.

Well-Designed for Models and Prototypes

The FR-7100 material truly shines as a medium for design models, product prototypes, topographical maps, environmental graphics, sculptures, carvings and industrial patterns. It is extremely easy to shape and carve with common woodworking tools. It cuts “like butter,” General Plastics technical sales representative Sean Meehan says, even with the use of sandpaper or other hand tools. For models and prototypes, the most common density range is 4 pounds to 12 pounds – and sometimes up to 15 pounds (the recommended limit for hand carving).

Meehan adds that above the 12-pound range, the density used is subjective. It typically depends on how the model or prototype is being used and the desired finish.  For extremely high-quality prototypes and models where a smoother finish is required, customers may choose the 20- or 30-pound density – and occasionally even specify 40-pound for an item that will be displayed. However, it’s actually rare to use densities higher than the 20 pounds for prototypes and models.

As a commercial-grade versus “spec” foam, the FR-7100 foam series offers a lower price point with high availability, critical for satisfying often-tight lead times. “While our standard ship time is seven days after order acceptance, it can be shipped sooner to ensure customers meet their schedules.” said Meehan.

This LAST-A-FOAM® material’s superb value also explains its common use for prototyping and proofing applications. Often times, customers machine a prototype made from our FR-7100 foam to ensure that everything is on-point and correct in their programming before machining the final product in a more expensive material such as aluminum.

Shipshape for Marine Applications

Even with long-term exposure, the FR-7100 product line does not absorb water or retain moisture. It’s rigid, closed-cell characteristics prevent mold, mildew and any degradation of the material, making it an optimal composite core for marine applications. These include boat decks, transoms, engine mounts, freezer and non-load-bearing surfaces.

Light weight applications such as fish holds, for example, require superb insulation. The FR-7100 provides the highest R-value at 5.3 per inch when it’s glassed over, offering ample insulation for refrigeration. Since most fish holds have irregular shapes with a lot of contours, our material makes it easy to shape by hand using common woodworking tools.  This application typically uses our 4 or 6-pound densities.

Typical densities for other marine applications:

  • Boat decks – 10 pcf
  • Transoms – 20-24 pcf
  • Upper deck canopies – 10 pcf, 12 pcf and 15 pcf

“The density range for the canopies can be subjective, but often depends on whether any instruments will be mounted to those surfaces. If the boat will have a satellite or radar system, customers often lean toward the 15-pound density,” Meehan adds.

Composite Core Key Player

FR-7100 Multi-Use Core and Modeling Board foams are flame-retardant, strong, durable, and dependable, satisfying diverse composite applications, such as composite panel cores, machined foam parts, and composite layups. The foam series’ dimensional stability makes the material stress-free, eliminating any concerns that it will warp or bow. They are also chemically resistant with excellent compatibility with common resin systems and low resin uptake thanks to their fine cell structure which further reduces part weight and cost. This makes them ideal for fiberglass wet lay-up processing and resin transfer molding.

These foams can be sealed and painted using a wide array of primers, sealants and paints, and it bonds well with many adhesives. With FR-7100, there are no mold-release agents or other additives that could inhibit adhesion. It bonds easily to other composite materials and does not contain anything that could cause delamination of skins.

Easy adhesion also applies to bonding boards of multiple densities together. For example, if specific surfaces require higher strength characteristics – such as a higher-load-bearing section of sandwich panel – high and low densities can be combined in one layup and bonded securely prior to machining and finishing.

“There is nothing in the FR-7100 formulation – or any of our foams – that prevents adhesion of other materials,” explains Meehan. “This is a key advantage over some other core materials, whose composition creates issues with bonding and sealing or has poor resin compatibility.”

All densities of the FR-7100 series are appropriate for use within the composite core industry. What’s more, this product is offered in half-sheets, making it perfect when customers only require a small amount of material. Meehan cites the examples of boat and automobile manufacturers, or custom fabricators, who only need enough material to rework or refinish a small panel. “Not having to purchase a full 48” x 96” sheet is always a welcome cost savings,” he said.

Mastering Tooling and Molds

For tooling applications, the FR-7100 couples great machinability with excellent finish capabilities, and is well-suited to ambient layup processes such as casting molds at temperatures below 200ºF, thermoforming tools, mold patterns and low-volume vacuum-forming tools.

Click to see density recommendations.

Similar to model and prototyping applications, surface finish is an important factor in product selection. This multi-use foam series enables finishing with a wide array of materials and primers. It also supports use of many different sealants, critical for preventing material transfer.

“When you’re laying up carbon fiber or fiberglass to a tool, and you pull that tool, you’re not physically removing that foam. What you will see is a reflection of the foam’s surface finish,” Meehan says. “While not visible to the naked eye, the foam’s fine cell structure contains pinholes that can transfer to parts or a master mold during layup, so you want a material like the FR-7100 that supports tight sealing.”

The number of pulls also frequently dictates product selection: Multiple pulls call for high-density FR-7100 foam, but for one-off tools, it’s often not needed.

Engineering students participating in the Formula SAE Collegiate Design Series choose General Plastics Last-A-Foam® for their projects. These teams compete to design, develop and test a small Formula-style racecar, where the prototype is evaluated for its potential as a production vehicle. One-off tool projects where students create a plug and then pull a master mold from that typically uses lower density foam.

The product’s physical properties create a stress-free, no-warp material – imperative for tooling processes when any movement is undesirable. Users also appreciate the absence of additives or debris in the material that can cause damage to machining equipment.

“Customers running CNC mills are concerned about tearing through equipment, especially ball mills that are doing the machining,” Meehan said. “Glass sphere additives, in particular, are extremely hard on the equipment, causing you to go through a lot of bits – and the costs add up. Because our material is non-abrasive with no damaging fillers, it doesn’t harm equipment or damage expensive cutting blades.”

LAST-A-FOAM® FR-7100 Multi-Use Core and Modeling foam is available as board stock and blocks in densities from four to 40 pcf. General Plastics can also supply the foam needed and machine it in-house to satisfy customer requirements.

Download the FR-7100 product data sheet and technical data sheet to learn more.

A Message from General Plastics Mfg. Co.

A One-Stop Shop for Turning Polyurethane Materials into a Final Product

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General Plastics Manufacturing Company Receives “Supplier Of The Year” Award From Boeing

 General Plastics Manufacturing Co., a supplier of high-performance polyurethane foam products and built-to-print composite parts, was recognized by The Boeing Company as Supplier of the Year in the Outstanding Performance category.

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General Plastics to Showcase Newly-Launched High-Temp, Low CTE Tooling Board at JEC World 2019 in Paris, France

General Plastics to Showcase Newly-Launched High-Temp, Low CTE Tooling Board at JEC World 2019 in Paris, France Polyurethane foam innovator will also highlight various composite applications of its high-performance LAST-A-FOAM® rigid and flexible polyurethane foam Tacoma, Wash. – February 19, 2019 - General Plastics Manufacturing Company, manufacturer of LAST-A-FOAM® rigid and flexible polyurethane foam sheet stock, built-to-print composite assemblies and finished custom parts, will be at the JEC World 2019 Composites Show in Paris, France on March 12 – 14, 2019.

Fast, Economical Tooling Options for Prototyping and Custom Builds

For manufacturing industries such as aerospace, automotive, marine, and wind energy, prototyping is a familiar part of the product development process, commonly used for R&D testing, product demonstrations, and regulatory certifications.

How Light Can You Go? 3 Ways to Push the Boundaries of Automotive and Aerospace Lightweighting

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General Plastics Launches High-Temperature, Low CTE LAST-A-FOAM® FR-4800 Tooling Board

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General Plastics President/CEO Mitchell Johnson, Ph.D., to Speak on Leadership Panel at the Foam Expo Conference March 26 – 28, 2019

Mitchell Johnson, Ph.D., President/CEO of General Plastics Manufacturing Company will be one of the speakers at the leadership panel, Reducing Material & Equipment Cost While Improving Foam Capabilities, on March 26, 2019, 10:00 am, Track 1, at Foam Expo North America in Novi, Michigan. “The topic is timely given the current market pressures caused by increasing cost of raw materials while ensuring that we continue to deliver quality products,” said Dr.

LAST-A-FOAM Product Finders

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General Plastics Awarded AS9100 Revision D Quality Management System Certification

Polyurethane foam innovator extends its quality process commitment beyond products to entire customer experience and assure compliance with multiple industry standards.

General Plastics to Feature its FST/OSU-Compliant Rigid Foam Series, Lightweight Core Materials and Custom Molded Flyaway Parts at Aircraft Interiors Expo 2018

Polyurethane foam innovator and producer of flame-retardant, lightweighting core materials for aerospace applications will also present its expanded production capabilities and dielectric foam series for radio-frequency applications.

General Plastics to Spotlight Cost-Saving Core Materials for Light-Weighting Applications at JEC World

Nadcap-certified manufacturer of high-performance polyurethane foam products will also showcase its RF-2200 Dielectric Foam Series for radio-frequency applications and expanded production capabilities.

General Plastics Features its New Polyurethane Dielectric Material with High Thermal Processing Properties at CAMX 2017

General Plastics Manufacturing Co., global supplier of high-performance polyurethane foam products and composite parts, will be at booth R46 to showcase the new LAST-A-FOAM® RF-2200, a lightweight material that provides an RF-transparent protective layer for radome and antenna applications.

General Plastics Manufacturing Company Awarded Nadcap Accreditation

General Plastics received Nadcap accreditation for Measurement and Inspection for its Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM)  TACOMA, Wash. – September 25, 2017 – General Plastics Manufacturing Company, global supplier of high-performance polyurethane foam products and composite parts, is proud to announce that it received the Nadcap accreditation for Measurement and Inspection (AC7130 Rev. 1), specifically for its Coordinate Measuring Machine (AC7130/1 Rev A.). The Nadcap designation allows General Plastics’ inclusion in the Performance Review Institute (PRI) Qualified Manufacturer’s List (QML), joining a group of only 61 companies in the nation to attain this standard.

Custom Rigid Molded Parts Ace Cost, Delivery and Detail Requirements

What do munitions storage structures, faux-wood shutters, kayak paddles and fuel floats have in common?

General Plastics’ Polyurethane Foams Chosen for Deep Space and Defense Applications

In 2016, Promontory, Utah, nozzle plugs made from General Plastics’ LAST-A-FOAM® FR-4300 played an important role in protecting rockets for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS). General Plastics’ customer, Orbital ATK, a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, is producing the five-segment solid rocket boosters for the 322-foot SLS – the most powerful motors ever flown.

General Plastics Debuts Polyurethane Dielectric Material with High Thermal Processing Properties for RF Communications and Radome Applications

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Customer Success Video: How General Plastics helped Orbital ATK find a cost-effective product that met their specifications and their reliability and manufacturing system requirements.

Shaping Ideas into Flyaway Aerospace and Defense Solutions General Plastics’ LAST-A-FOAM® polyurethane foam products has a rich history in successful aerospace, military and defense applications, and have proudly supported companies like Orbital ATK in space travel and exploration.

General Plastics to Feature Fire, Smoke, Toxicity and OSU-Compliant Foam Series at SAMPE Seattle May 23-24

Locally-based leading manufacturer of flyaway polyurethane foams and build-to-print molded parts will also spotlight affordable, innovative core materials and tooling boards ideal for diverse aerospace applications.

General Plastics to Present Rigid and Flexible Foam Products and Flyaway Build-to-Print Parts at Aircraft Interiors Expo, April 4-6, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany

Polyurethane foam pacesetter also highlighting rigid and flexible molded parts and FAA-certified testing capabilities Tacoma, Wash. – March 30, 2017 – General Plastics Manufacturing Company, a recognized supplier of high-performance rigid and flexible foams and build-to-print parts to the aerospace industry, is looking forward to being a part of the Washington State Department of Commerce delegation at the 2017 Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany, April 4-6.

General Plastics to Showcase Rigid and Flexible Foam Products at JEC World To Address Composite Industry Challenges

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General Plastics Announces the Promotion of Mitchell Johnson, Ph.D. to Company President as it Celebrates the Company’s 75th Year

Leading manufacturer known for research and development, quality systems and solving customers’ most vexing challenges is poised to advance new materials and expand in new markets TACOMA, Wash. – November 28, 2016 – General Plastics Manufacturing Company, a leading global supplier of rigid and flexible polyurethane foam materials and build-to-print parts, marks its 75th anniversary on December 1, 2016 with the announcement of the promotion of Mitchell Johnson, Ph.D. to company president.

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General Plastics’ Rick J. Brown, Ph.D. to Present Paper on Crash and Fire Protection for Nuclear Transportation Containers September 20 at PATRAM 2016

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General Plastics' High-temperature Tooling Board Series

LAST-A-FOAM® FR-4700 HT Tooling Board Series is a rigid, high-temperature, hybrid tooling board that is designed for prototype machining, prepreg composite lay-up tooling, vacuum form tooling, tool proofing, pattern making and master model making.

LAST-A-FOAM FR-6700 Aerospace Grade Series

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High-Temp Tooling Foam and Machining Services Help Aerospace Innovator Compress its Research and Development Cycle

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As Seen In CompositesWorld

General Plastics' LAST-A-FOAM FR-4800 tooling board.

CAMX 2018 preview: General Plastics
General Plastics (Tacoma, WA, US) is featuring its new high-temperature, low-CTE LAST-A-FOAM FR-4800 tooling board.

General Plastics' LAST-A-FOAM 4800 tooling board.

General Plastics launches ultrahigh-temperature tooling board
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 LAST-A-FOAM RF-2200

CAMX 2017 preview: General Plastics
General Plastics Mfg. Co. (Tacoma, WA, US) is showcasing its new LAST-A-FOAM RF-2200, a lightweight material that provides an RF-transparent protective layer for radome and antenna applications.

JEC World 2017 exhibit preview
JEC World will be held March 14-16 in Paris. CW previews some of the products and technologies that will be at the show.

CAMX 2016 preview: General Plastics
General Plastics Mfg. Co. (Tacoma, WA, US) will feature its FR-3800 FST composite core series. Also featured will be its FR-4700 high-temperature tooling board.

JEC World 2016, the full report
CompositesWorld's editors report on the technologies and products that caught our eye at JEC World 2016, in early March.

FST-compliant polyurethane foam cores
General Plastics Manufacturing Co. (Tacoma, WA, US) featured its fire, smoke, and toxicity- (FST) compliant polyurethane foam cores — the FR-3800 FST series — and its molded parts program.

CAMX 2015 preview: General Plastics
General Plastics Manufacturing Co. (Tacoma, WA, US) will highlight its fire, smoke, and toxicity- (FST) compliant polyurethane foam cores — the FR-3800 FST series — and its molded parts program.

CFRP camera boom enables safe spill inspection
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Composite tooling without oven or autoclave
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Webinar reviews epoxy-urethane foam for soft tools and molds
CompositesWorld and General Plastics will offer an April 10 webinar on high-temp, high-density epoxy-urethane foam for soft tools and molds.

Pierce County trains skilled workers through collaborative curriculum building
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General Plastics receives Boeing performance award
General Plastics, which supplies composite flight deck and cabin interior components to Boeing for all models of the 737, 747, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft, has been awarded a 2012 Silver Boeing Performance Excellence Award.

People Briefs: CT February 2013
People news from FORMAX, Chromaflo Technologies and General Plastics Mfg.

Tooling boards improve processes
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News briefs - Aug. 25, 2009
Automated Dynamics names Robert Langone president; Compsys names Ron Taibl executive vice president; Cytec facility receives Spirit award; General Plastics graduates 25 from leadership education program; Michigan State University develops new nanocomposite; Premix celebrates 50 years; Reichhold picks Whitaker Oil as distributor; Stanford University to host composites design program.

Isotruss bicycle

SAMPE 2009 Product Showcase
Showgoers at the SAMPE 2009 Conference and Exhibiton in Baltimore, Md. found many suppliers undeterred by poor economic news. 

General Plastics names new distributors
Four distributors will cover Midwestern, Western and Canadian territories.

General Plastics tooling board

New tooling board size
General Plastics has developed new, larger sheets of its FR-4500 tooling board.

Tooling Board

Taking Up Tooling Boards
Tooling Board ManufacturersEpoxy and polyurethane tooling boards are a standby for creating models or low-run-production tooling.

SAMPE exhibitors in Long Beach

SAMPE 2005 Product Showcase
SAMPE's U.S. Symposium and Exhibition highlights technological innovation and market expansion.

Product Categories of General Plastics Mfg. Co.

Adhesive bonding
Aerospace, aircraft interior
Aerospace, flight control surfaces
Aerospace, radomes
Automotive, body panels & substructures
Automotive, interior (seats, IPCs, floor panels, etc.)
Backup structures
Cast
Composite, carbon fiber/epoxy
Composite, fiberglass
Composite, other
Composite, prepreg
Cutting, finishing, and machining
Flame/smoke toxicity testing
Foam core, polyurethane
Honeycomb, foam-filled
Infrastructure, composite
Mandrels, other
Mandrels, segmented
Marine, boat (hulls, decks, bulkheads, etc.)
Marine, other
Master pattern material, other
Master pattern material, polymeric
Materials analysis
Moldmaking and patternmaking
Other fabricating services
Other tools/tooling materials
Prototype
Prototyping
Prototyping
Resin transfer molding (RTM)
Resin transfer molding (RTM)
RTM/resin infusion
Tooling board
Tooling prepreg
Urethane
Vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM)
Vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM)